Although there isn’t a full budget for Illinois, money for capital projects will be put to work to help ensure a military intelligence operation moves to the Land of Lincoln, according to members of Congress and Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Gov. Rauner said Friday that despite the state budget impasse, the state’s Democrats and Republicans agreed on capital funds for various projects throughout the state.
One project the governor said is a priority is building infrastructure in hopes the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, or NGA, western headquarters moves to metro-east St. Louis.
“There is no budget impasse of any sort that will impact the investment and the infrastructure needed to make this facility work,” Rauner said.
Rauner said included in the $115 million from the state for road improvements and infrastructure are funds to study bringing the MetroLink light rail train to the proposed NGA campus. The governor said St. Clair County will also offer free land to the federal government for the operation.
Rauner also said NGA will benefit from Illinois’ talent in computer science. Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin agreed.
“The talent pool that we have here in Illinois, all across downstate but particularly from our major college campuses … can benefit our government by making sure the best and brightest are part of the future of NGA,” Durbin said.
Durbin said Illinois gave a compelling case to the federal government to relocate NGA to the metro-east near Scott Air Force Base.
Rauner said there’s 100 percent support from both sides of the aisle to bring the project to the state.
Illinois’ leaders are competing with Missouri for the NGA location.
Durbin said a decision from federal officials on the NGA location is expected in a few weeks.